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Battle at Bristol

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The last time the Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies played in the regular season was in 1937. The neighboring states have been anxiously waiting for a neutrally sited game for years. This year Tennessee and Virginia Tech are facing off at Bristol Motor Speedway. This NASCAR short-track will be turned into a lighted, fully functional, football stadium. It is projected to be the biggest college football game ever.

Bristol Motor Speedway holds 160,000 people, and the game attendance should be incredibly close to the capacity of the stadium. The second biggest game ever was played in 1927, and the attendance was 120,000 spectators. Because the Battle at Bristol will have 40,000 more people, it will shatter the current record.

The University of Tennessee Volunteers are coming off a successful 9-4 season and a huge win over a Big 10 powerhouse Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. In the fourth year of a four year plan, Butch Jones, the Vol’s head coach, faces high expectations from fans and reporters. In the official preseason rankings for the 2016 college football season, Tennessee football is ranked nine.

Tennessee’s running game consists of two first class backs: Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. The University’s website states that Hurd rushed on average 99.1 yards per game and Kamara rushes 53.7 yards per game. Along with a dual threat quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee’s running game may be revealed as one of the best in the nation.

A weakness for Tennessee may end up mirroring last season. In the 2015-2016 football season Tennessee lost four games. In all games that they lost, Tennessee had a lead at one point in the game. In three of the four games Tennessee had the lead going into the fourth quarter. The ability to finish games is a proven weakness of Butch Jones’s team and if they plan to have a successful season they have to fix that problem.

On the other hand, Virginia Tech has lower expectations. They are projected to win 7 games this upcoming season. Their coaching staff is talented and experienced. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech’s head coach, has big plans to change the offense and the quarterback. Although he has plans to make the offense good, Virginia Tech has not had a successful offense in 5 years.

That supports that they are unproven on the offensive side of the ball. In order to beat Tennessee and have a successful season Virginia Tech’s offense must be able to put points on the board. This takes pressure off the defense and makes game-planning easier.

The highly anticipated Battle at Bristol should be a huge spectacle to watch.

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Battle at Bristol